BRISBANE spearhead Jesse Wardlaw announced herself to the rest of the NAB AFL Women's competition on Sunday, booting three goals in the Lions' 19-point win over Geelong.
The 20-year-old forward made the most of Brisbane's inside 50 dominance (39-14) to propel her side to a 6.3 (39) to 3.2 (20) come-from-behind victory at GMHBA Stadium.
LIONS RUN DOWN CATS Full match coverage and stats
Despite leading by 11 points at half-time, the Cats were swamped around the contest after the main break to fall to their second successive loss to start the season.
Brisbane midfielders Emily Bates (22 disposals) and Sophie Conway (15 disposals, eight tackles) wore down their younger Cats opponents as the Lions reclaimed top spot in Conference A.
The Lions kicked five unanswered goals in the second half, including three in the third term as they smashed the Cats around clearances (10-3).
Geelong teenagers Nina Morrison (18 disposals), Olivia Purcell (two goals) and Millie Brown (18 disposals) held their own in front of 5567 fans for the Cats' first home game of the season.
Wardlaw and Brown enjoyed a fascinating battle, however the Cats' father-daughter draftee offered plenty of run off half-back as her opponent kicked three goals.
Wardlaw, in her second year of AFLW, offered the spark in the front half as the Lions missed Jess Wuetschner who continues to recover from a lightning strike suffered in January.
Lions tall Dakota Davidson marked her first AFLW goal in style, side-stepping her Geelong opponent and kicking truly before taking off on a soccer-like celebration late in the third term.
The Cats attempted to address their -35 inside 50 from round one during the week but again struggled to convert entries and failed to take a mark inside 50 for the entire match.
Blink and you missed it
Dakota Davidson enjoyed every bit of her first AFLW goal. Collecting the ball just inside 50m, the first-year tall side-stepped her Geelong opponent and kicked on the run from 40m. She then took off with a extravagant celebration to give her team a spark just before three-quarter time.
Mature-age Brisbane recruit Cathy Svarc stood up when the game was on the line late, taking three crucial marks to repel the Cats' attacks. The 28-year-old, who has only played football for two years, is one of the Lions' best runners and was thrown into the midfield in the final term.
One to watch
Third in last year's NAB AFLW Rising Star, Cat Olivia Purcell looks ready to take the next step as an elite midfielder in 2020. The 19-year-old collected 27 disposals last week and had two goals and 12 touches in the first half on Sunday before the bigger Lions' midfielders took control of proceedings.
The Cats suffered a further blow in the opening term when midfielder Denby Taylor sustained a nasty ankle injury. The 19-year-old was attacking a loose ball when her right leg got stuck under Brisbane opponent Sophie Conway. She was later spotted on crutches post-match.
"We just struggled to connect with the ball from forward of midfield (after half time). We weren't able to retain possession in the front half and credit to Brisbane, they really took some of our run away from us." - Geelong coach Paul Hood
"The players we've recruited this year are athletic beasts. Our forward line is a lot more dynamic and we have players all over the ground who thrive on hard work." - Brisbane midfielder Emily Bates
The Cats face reigning premier Adelaide at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday in the twilight slot of 5.10pm AEDT. The Suns travel down the highway to Metricon Stadium to tackle Gold Coast in the inaugural NAB AFL Women's QClash.
GEELONG 2.1 3.1 3.1 3.2 (20)
BRISBANE 1.0 1.2 4.3 6.3 (39)
Geelong: Purcell 2, Higgins
Brisbane: Wardlaw 3, Conway, Davidson, Bodey
Geelong: Purcell, Brown, Morrison, Webster, McDonald
Brisbane: Conway, Bates, Wardlaw, Anderson, Bodey, Moloney
Geelong: Taylor (ankle)
Crowd: 5567 at GMHBA Stadium